News broke last week that actor Terrence Howard would not return to the role of Jim Rhodes in 'Iron Man 2'. Instead, Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle would take over the part in the highly-anticipated sequel. Reports were vague on the reasons for the change, but suggested that a money dispute was at the core.
More recently Howard did an extensive interview for NPR as part of his publicity tour for his just released CD "Shine Through It". NPR host Scott Simon took the opportunity to ask Howard about the situation.
The actor expressed dismay over the news.
"It was the surprise of a lifetime. It really was," Howard said, "There was no explanation, but it was gone...It just up and vanished."
Howard seemed baffled as to how the situation had gone sour, and suggested it was not about money. "Apparently the contracts that...we write and sign aren't worth the paper that they're printed on sometimes," Howard said.
Simon asked Howard if he sees a distinction between the business principles of Hollywood executives and the pimps he's played in movies.
"No. No. Promises aren't kept. Good faith negotiations aren't always held up," was the actor's response.
He even hinted at a sense of betrayal for others involved with the 'Iron Man' movies. "Even friendships, people that you support...," he began to say before trailing off and shifting gears.
Interested readers can download the 45 minute interview from the NPR link above, and forward to about 16:50 for the conversation about 'Iron Man 2'. There's also a 13 minute edited cut of the interview which provides some of the conversation about 4:30 in.
Here's the complete transcript of Howard and Simon's discussion of the casting bombshell. Howard comes off as sympathetic and stops short of slinging much venom or mud towards the casting decision makers. At times the conversation makes a convenient opportunity to weave in the positive message of his CD.
While fans are divided about whether replacing Howard with Cheadle is good news, bad news or very bad news, It'll be interesting to learn what really happened behind the scenes of this casting shake up. Unfortunately, Howard doesn't reveal much here.
Scott Simon: I have to ask about an announcement that came out recently. You're not going to be Jim Rhodes in 'Iron Man 2'
Terrence Howard: Yeah, I found that out too. [laughs]
Simon: Really? They didn't, they didn't...
Howard: It was, um...It was the surprise of a lifetime. It really was. It was like, "Wait a minute. How did this take place?"
Some things...There was no explanation, but it was gone. It was gone like life. It just, up and vanished and I read something in the trades that implicated it was about money or something but apparently the contracts that...we write and sign aren't worth the paper that they're printed on sometimes.
Those are the things that you've got to just shine through. You push right through it and I said, "wow, for some reason I did this before. I've seen this before."
And now the challenge is to not be angry. You keep moving forward...Like a lot of Americans I lost my 401k basically, because that was a very promising thing. You have to keep working. That's even more promising.
Simon: I haven't read the bi-play in trades about why Don Cheadle will apparently be playing your role, so I'm malinformed as I try to draw you along to this next part. But it occurs to me that you've played pimps.
Simon: So is there a difference between their business principles and the ones in Hollywood?
Howard: No. No.
Promises aren't kept. Good faith negotiations aren't always held up. Even friendships, people that you support...When it comes down to it the only true support you have is the work that you've done. The laurels of your work and the ethics by which you stand.
I found peacefulness in me though. That even in getting slapped when I was a little kid when I would get attacked, even though I was strong enough to stop it I would never hit back, back then. I didn't start hitting back 'til I was 15 and I didn't stop hitting back until I was around 25, 28. I stopped hitting back then.
Even now I didn't hit back. So it reminded me that, wow, I'm back to the peacefulness that I had before.
You just wonder. You wonder. Is this my life? Or am I watching someone's life?